Its exam time. Kaveri needed a break from studying. We decide to see #Pink the movie. The 1.45 pm show. A quick two hour distraction would do her good- she could then get back to her books. This was yesterday
We decide to take the short cut as usual to PVR icon at Infinity mall in Andheri West through Raheja classic. A very dear friend lives there so the route and the premises familiar- the watchmen do not stop us. Its 1.35 pm
A few metres away from the exit gate of Raheja Classic I spot a pariah or stray dog lying on the side convulsing violently and instruct my driver to stop the car. The dog- it’s a ‘she dog ‘ she is howling into the air, sharp teeth snapping aggressively and defecating, urinating all at once. Dragging herself through a smattering of her own blood on the rough ground. She is having a fit of some kind, I don’t know what. Having seen & experienced my pet Lyka (a gorgeous St Bernard behave similarly as she died in my arms many years ago) I try to call my vet frantically for help. He is busy and doesn’t answer my call. My friend who lives in the building is travelling and unavailable.
It’s a heart wrenching sight. Kaveri is in tears. There is an open gutter towards which the she dog is dragging herself in a semi conscious state, body still convulsing violently. I call out to the assortment of drivers and watchmen around me for help, they stare at me indifferently and carry on with their day with a “Why is madam going mental over a dying stray dog’ kinda look. Playing cards, blowing the whistle, scratching their balls, picking their teeth & digging their ears. My driver struggles to close the heavy gutter door on his own; the darn thing is really really heavy. No help is forthcoming in spite of my many requests to seek help. A posh looking lady passes by and enquires about the whereabouts of the club house, her eyes passing over the convulsing dog in sheer indifference. She hasn’t even noticed. As many of the passersby or people around. Kaveri begs to carry the dog in the car and rush her to the vet- I tell her that may be a risky thing to do. For the dog and ourselves
SPCA help lines go unanswered. Completely. I then call up Mr Oswal from the Animal Welfare Board. The kind man is in Pune but immediately connects me to a colleague in Mumbai Mr Rane. Who informs me that all their ambulances are out and will not be able to reach the location anytime soon. Will I be willing to pay for a private ambulance? Of course I will- can we just help the dog please. I await a revert
In the meantime I call up Save our Strays” Sorry madam we cannot help you’ Please call private ambulance service. Someone sees my social media update on twitter and tweets back to me that I should call Jaagruti. An NGO that helps animals in distress. Another kind lady again from the animal welfare board sees my update on face book and gives me a number for Andheri west dog rescue. I call one number after the other. Responses are similar. Ambulances are unavailable; this is not our call of duty kinda
Its past 2.30. Kaveri and I are still waiting anxiously around the ‘she dog’ that has suddenly stopped convulsing so violently. Her tongue is not hanging out of the mouth in that macabre way either and she’s looking better. Thank God! Mr Rane from the animal welfare board calls me to tell me that he has managed to divert his ambulance and it should reach us shortly. Just before the ambulance reaches us the ‘she dog’ has sat up upright, convulsions stopped. As the ambulance drives into the compound the she dog raises her head, gets on her four feet and walks away! Just like that!
Phew! So much drama. That too in the midst of the complete apathy and indifference of people around. The playing cards, the scratching of the balls, the loud guffaws all continue around us in the building compound. As if nothing had happened. As if the dog wasn’t ever there. Or nor were we – two distraught individuals i.e. myself and Kaveri trying to help a dying dog. Or at least what we thought was a dying dog, before she got up and just coolly ambled away .
What is it about Indians that makes us so indifferent to suffering? This kind of public apathy is appalling
By the time Kaveri and I tumble into the theatre to see Pink it’s almost interval time. We sit through the rest of the movie but it’s no fun. We decide to come see it again when time permits. A film like Pink deserves our full and undistracted attention and respect.
My vet calls me back after it’s all over to explain that such fits are common in dogs. No medical reason apparently – just comes and goes. Happens in humans too he says. I explain the ambulance situation- the paucity of it in a city like Mumbai where distances are so vast. How can help ever reach on time? It’s the laws he says. Our laws don’t allow animal hospitals within city limits- even the veterinary hospital in Lower Parel exists only thanks to the British. It was founded and funded by the white men. Nothing i.e. no structure has been given permission to come up since then. Really? Why? Does anybody know? Where does one turn to for help besides the NGO?
I am sharing below the numbers of some organizations and charities that help with animal welfare and rescue. Hope it helps…
- PFA India- People for Animals 01123357088
PFA don’t handle emergencies. They work on policies and direct calls as per NGO in the particular city
- Andheri West Dog Rescue : Contact person Nilesh Rane
- World for Animals Cruelty +919820001506
- Save our Strays +919820141310
Kaveri and I decided to name the she dog ‘notty chica’ for our memory of yesterday. Cool no?
As for why I refer to her as ‘she dog’ before Kaveri & I decided to give her the name ‘notty chica’ it’s because I so dislike the word bitch.
The bitch word I save for a certain kind of human